Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Cheshvan 5761 - Noveber 2, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Keren Hashevi'is Executive Board Meets
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

An initial report on the cessation of labor of thousands of dedicated farmers in the current shmitta year has been brought to the attention of the Keren Hashevi'is administration. A special meeting was called to fix procedures for the first distribution of funds of the Keren and to discuss the manner in which the public will share the burden of the farmers who have displayed a staunch desire to keep the laws of shmitta kehilchoso without compromise.

A special reception for HaRav Azriel Shechter and HaRav Chaim Moshe Feldman was held at the meeting. HaRav Shechter is the rav and moreh tzedek of London and the chairman of the Keren Hashevi'is drive in England, who makes tireless efforts on behalf of shmitta observant farmers in Eretz Yisroel. HaRav Feldman is one of the most distinguished leaders the London chareidi community and a staunch supporter of Keren Hashevi'is.

HaRav Azriel Shechter thanked those who blessed him and in his divrei Torah related that during his visit to Eretz Yisroel, he personally visited shmitta observant farmers in order to encourage them. He also brought them greetings from England's chareidi Jews who, toward the end of the sixth year, rallied together to assist the giborei Hashem -- the shmitta observant farmers -- and to become loyal, genuine partners with these courageous men who fulfill this mitzvah with great dedication.

"During my visit to their fields, I was amazed and deeply stirred by the mesiras nefesh and courage of the farmers," HaRav Shechter said. "I saw a huge field belonging to a flower grower, whose flowers had been at the height of their growth, yet had dried out only because he had decided to let his field lie fallow, and in line with the rabbonim's guidelines did not water his flowers when shmitta year began.

"I don't know many urban dwellers who could withstand such a test," HaRav Shechter added. "These farmers have agreed to forego their livelihoods for the entire shmitta. Would a city dweller honestly say that he would stop work for an entire year if he had no other source of livelihood?

"The remarkable situation in which thousands of farmers, among them many who are new to shmitta kehilchoso observance, have agreed to let vast areas of land lie fallow is the direct result of the efforts of the chareidi sector in recent generations, who are fulfilling their moral obligations by promising the farmers help by providing for their families. This obligation they have taken upon themselves due to the appeals of maranan verabonon the gedolei hador, who have determined that all urban dwellers must be loyal partners with the courageous shmitta observant farmers.

HaRav Chaim Moshe Feldman, in whose London home a special fundraising drive on behalf of Keren Hashevi'is was held, also expressed his delight over the fact that distinguished public figures are seeing to it that shmitta in the fields will be fully observed and that the farmers will be supported, as requested by gedolei Yisroel. He said that according to most halachic authorities, shmitta observance at this time is miderabbonon and, as such, requires more strengthening than mitzvos deOraisa. He added that all activists involved in the issue must work to overcome all difficulties, hoping that we will be delivered on the merit of the observance of the laws of shmitta in full.

The following distinguished rabbonim were present and spoke at the meeting of the executive board, which was also attended by the activists of Keren Hashevi'is and the Nationwide Center for Shmitta Observing Farmers: Rabbis Avrohom Nosson Barnet, Betzalel Gudlevski, Eizik Goldstein, Yehuda Akiva Gelber, Refoel Hoffman, Moshe Hess, Shlomo Vidislevski, Reuven Vindenbaum, Yosef Yoskovits, Naftoli Yaakovson, Yissochor Dov Lederman, Yosef Minkah, Shmuel Mordechai Mintz, Moshe Bunim Mintz, Avrohom Mordechai Mendelsohn, Yisroel Yitzchok Mendelsohn, Yosef Pardess, Avrohom Kliers and Avrohom Tzvi Roshgold.

Reports about drives on behalf of the Keren Hashevi'is in Eretz Yisroel and the world over were delivered at the meeting, as were reports about efforts to inculcate the idea of shmitta to Jews everywhere so that each and every Jews will aspire to become an actual partner in the great mitzvah of shmitta, which, as maranan verabonon have said, rests upon all of us.

At the meeting it was decided to set up a support committee to formulate procedures for distribution of the first wave of contributions and the manner in which the public will share the burden of the shmitta observant farmers. Procedures will be in accordance with specific types of crops, the areas and quantities of land and other statistics collected by the coordinators of the Nationwide Center for Shmitta Observing Farmers. It was also proposed that a committee for roshei kollel be established which will examine the means for assisting and adopting shmitta observing farmers by existing kollelim.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.